Sunday, April 28, 2013

We are Wild About the Zoo!

What a fun week we have had!  I think we spent more time this past week just "talking" about our topic than ever before.  Zoo Week was just plain fun!  Our circle times were lively and not only full of questions, but animal sounds too!  Here are just a few highlights from our busy week.

We celebrated "Earth Day" on Monday.  We talked about "reusing" items to help protect our planet.  One of the things that we do in my class is recycle lunch containers.  It seems that at least one child brings applesauce to school each day in a disposable container.

The students love to rinse them out for me so we can use them to hold paint or glue when we do an art project.  It may not seem like much but we are trying to do our part!  In case you missed it, here are a couple of our beautiful recycled spring flower -

Everyone loves monkeys so our very first zoo art project had to be a monkey!  Ours was so cute and so much fun to make.

It is probably hard to tell by the pictures, but the students actually cut the arms, legs and tales out my themselves.  We let them dry just a bit before we accordion folded the arms and legs.  I just love them.  We also spent the ENTIRE DAY talking about monkeys and apes.  Of course there was a lot of monkeying around too!

I was really excited when I saw this next art project on PINTEREST .  I instantly fell in love with it.  I also knew my class AND their parents would really like it.  But of course, I had to add the "Mrs. Karen" twist to it. 

The original art work used the child's hand prints for the zebra and the grass.  We needed something a little more fun.  Can you guess what we used to make the grass? 

If you said a "fork", you are right!
Everyone really enjoyed painting with an old plastic fork, which by the way we had leftover from lunch on Monday!  (Don't worry, we washed it!)
On Tuesday, we painted old paper towel tubes green and after they dried, we added dots with fun little paint dabbers.  Now that was just plain messy, fun but messy!  Everyone kept trying to guess what we were going to do with them.  Finally on Thursday they all found out! 

Let me be the first to say that this art project DID NOT turn out like the original one I saw.  Here is it-

But to honest, I like ours better!  They were silly fun!  We also spent the entire day talking about snakes!  (Footnote:  I do NOT like snakes!  But my class does, so I an forced to keep my feelings to myself.)
One of the topics that came up during our circle time was zoos versus wild.  Hmmm . . . kind of a deep subject for a group of four year olds, isn't it?  Well, that started a unique discussion about the pros and cons of being a zoo animal versus being an animal living in it's natural habitat.  WOW, my class really surprised me with their ideas and comments.  So, we did an art project that represented the animals in their natural environment.
We found some jungle stamps in our supply closet that had never been used.  It was fun to use "new" supplies.  Again, since our cutting skills are SO GOOD, I feel like I must mention that our "tree trunks" were cut by the children!  I really wasn't sure how much the children would enjoy this art project.  It really didn't say "FUN" to me.  I WAS WRONG!  Everyone loved picking out their favorite animals and stamping them in the jungle.

Friday was our "ZERO DAY"!  This year's class loves to do BIG group projects.  We covered our tables with butcher paper and laid out different circle shaped objects along with some colored pencils and markers.  Everyone had a blast tracing the circles and make ZEROES! 


Honestly, several of the students could have done this for HOURS!  I will say that the trick to making this successful is having a LARGE variety of traceable objects.  This was just an easy and fun way to work on our fine motor skills AND our sharing skills too!

Thank you for visiting with us.  I hope you can use some of these ideas for your classroom or just to do with your own children.  Next week we will be talking about the OCEAN!  I hope you drop back by and see what we have done!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day 2013

Mrs. Karen's Class!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

My Class Soared with the Birds

This past week was very interesting to say the least.  Our topic was "Birds" and letter of the week was "Y".  That sounds pretty normal for a preschool week, right?  Okay, now throw in our class photos AND our annual Spring Concert and you have the makings for a humdinger of a week!  SOOOOOOOO. . . . here is our week in review!

On Monday morning I introduced the class to our new friends, worms!  My teacher-buddy, Mrs. Christi, dug up some good 'ole earth worms from her yard and I made them a cozy little home.
We added some old coffee grounds to the dirt and gave them lettuce and yellow squash to eat.  By Tuesday morning they were happily tunneling and seeming very content.  Each day we check on them.  Everyone loved them so much that I decided they would stay with us the rest of the year.

Like I said before, we had to have our class pictures made and Monday was our day.  I usually don't do messy painting projects on our picture days (it seems to upset the parents when we get paint all over those "special" clothes), so we enjoyed a simple bird art project.

I hope that you can see the yarn on the nest.  We talked all day about how birds build their nest and the different things they use. 
One of our favorite things has been rulers.  To a preschool child a ruler is totally fascinating!  I love to put rulers, markers and paper on our writing table then just sit back and watch.  Using rulers is a great way to work on our fine motor skills AND our eye/hand coordination at the same time.  We used our ruler skills this week with one of our art projects.  I gave the children half of a circle and a ruler. 
Everyone had a good time drawing lines and making our hand prints.  I added my big 'old hand print too and the final piece is really very sweet.  

The words read, "It is almost time to spread your wings and fly!  But I will always be here for you!  I love you, Mrs. Karen".  We spent the remainder of the day talking about how mother birds have to be brave and let their baby birds learn to fly and be out on their own.  Personally, I'm already missing my "baby birds".

I have an old book entitled "Weird Birds".  I don't even remember where or when I got it, but every year I pull it out and we all get a good laugh at the different types of birds all over the world.  The hands down favorite each year is the Blue Footed Booby Bird.  We had a wonderful discussion during our circle time as to why he has blue feet.  I loved it when some said the birds looked like "God dipped his feet in blue paint".  Hmmmm . . . they could be right! 

We also made a few simple birds this week.  First, we water colored a BIG parrot.
Now, if you read my blog regularly you know I do not like worksheets or color sheets.  But, this big bad boy is fun and I will periodically pull him out.  I don't think you can tell by the picture, but he is really BIG.  He was copied onto a piece of 14 x 17 inch piece of paper.  After he dries, I cut him out.  No instructions were needed, we just painted.

I love hand prints!  Maybe it is because my son is all grown-up.  Or maybe it is because I see those few hand prints of his and wish I had more.  Who knows???  Whatever the reason, I love them.  This week was the perfect time to squeeze in a hand print peacock.
Everyone had a fun time picking out their favorite colored sequins!  I just love him!  We spent the entire day talking about how the daddy bird is the one with all the beautiful colors and the momma birds are plain. 

Our big spring concert was Thursday and we had to squeeze in one more rehearsal.  But that didn't stop us from doing a fun and interesting alphabet craft.  I cut out some large "Y"s from scrap poster board and handed everyone some yarn.  Away they went . . . .

Yarn wrapped "Y"s!
Our Fabulous Fun Friday had to be special.  It had been a rather unusual week and I knew we all needed something "extra" (and I include "ME" in that statement!).   First we made a beautiful spring wall hanging.  We traced and cut out the children's hands and part of their arms.  We used half of an old plastic Easter egg for the bird and the children added some feathers and flowers.

The results were very sweet and definitely cute!

Okay, that was fun but it was NOT special enough.  Here is when things got totally FUN!  After our circle time I ask each child to go and get a chair.  They could put the chair ANYWHERE they wanted to in our classroom.  Next, I cut long pieces of different colored yarn and sat back to watch.  Here is what happened . . . .




The children had an amazing time wrapping and tying the yarn around everything in our classroom.  We even had yarn tied around our door knob.  Nothing was off limit and everyone had a great time!

After lunch we headed down to the kitchen to "eat dirt and worms"!  Yes, I had been hinting all week long that we were going to "eat dirt".  Luckily my class is use to me so they usually giggled and told me (more than once) that they "trusted me".  Of course we ate . . . . dirt pudding!
Complete with a couple of gummy worms.  I cheated a little and mixed up the pudding earlier in the day but the children really loved crushing up the chocolate cookies and adding their worms.

All in all it was a fun and exciting week.  Thanks for stopping by.  Next week we will be discussing the letter "Z" and "Zoo" Animals.  I hope you come back and see what we did!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Insect Week!

This past week turned out to be much more fun that I had originally planned!  To a preschool child, insects are either "WOW" or "yucky", but much to my surprise, my class thought they were "WOW"!  Lucky me!  One of my all time MOST favorite books is . . . . .

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
by Eric Carle
So naturally we spent an entire day discussing not only the book but caterpillars too!  Everyone had a great time making the very own hungry caterpillar.

Balloons made the perfect round shape!

The children used their fingers to make the antennas.
They drew on their own noses and legs.

 I think Eric Carle would be very proud, don't you?
We also started making our "Name Caterpillars".  This is one of my all time favorites.  Each child counts the letters in their name and picks out that many circles.  Next, they write each of the letters on a circle.  Finally, we get to put it all together, add a head, some legs and . . . . .

A close up view of Jon Brook's caterpillar.

WOW, he has a long name!
After our caterpillar day on Monday, we spent Tuesday talking about butterflies.  It was really fun walking around the school fluttering like butterflies.  We made beautiful butterflies by putting big blobs of paint on one side of our butterfly cutouts.  Next we folded the paper and squished it.  It was very messy

We added a cute little thorax complete with an adorable little face and antennas. 

Wednesday was so much fun!  We spent the entire day talking about bees!  And yes, we "buzzed" the entire day!  We also made the cutest little bumble bee ever! 
Everyone loved using the tiny paint brushes to paint on the stripes.

Thursday was all about ladybugs and of course we had to read The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. 
Again, this is one of our favorite books (to be honest, I am a HUGE Eric Carle fan!).    Our ladybug was not quite as "grouchy".  One student said, "she had already eaten her dinner and wasn't mean anymore!".  I LOVE IT!  

I found a number of great ideas for the using The Grouchy Ladybug on The Official Eric Carle Website.  Check it out for more ideas.

Because of a threat of severe weather, our school day was cut short on Thursday.  (Remember, we are in Central, Alabama and severe weather usually means tornadoes!)  Anyway . . . we spent what little time we did have reading and talking about Eric Carle's book The Very Lonely Firefly .  Again, here are some more fun activities for  The Very Lonely Firefly
Friday was spent talking about insects and all their distinct characteristics.  Each child made their very own personalized insects and decided if they would fly, hop or crawl.  We also talked about what their insects liked to eat!

We also "at an insect"!  We headed to the kitchen and put together a yummy insect out of good 'ole 'Nilla Wafers, pretzels, raisins and "I"cing!  YUM!

No one seemed to mind eating these insects!
Thanks for visiting with us and I hope you stop back by next week - we will be talking about "birds"!